A victory Sunday in Kansas City would tie things up atop the AFC West. A loss would set the Raiders two games back with four to play. So, yeah, it's a pivot point for both clubs.
The Raiders can't stop prepping for a split second, with coaches devoting most of their cross-country flight to the Chiefs. They'll spend four-plus days in Alameda before leaving for Kansas City's bitter cold.
The Chiefs, by contrast, were chilling on the couch during their bye week. They were home before the time off and remain there through this prime AFC West matchup.
"We are going to have to earn every first down, we are going to have to work hard to get [Patrick] Mahomes off the field," Gruden said. "They're coming off a bye week. They'll be fresh as daisies. So, it'll be a great challenge in one of the great places and great rivalries in football. Hopefully it brings out a much better performance in us."
The rest served K.C. well. Tyreek Hill's expected to play after getting dinged in the previous game. Andy Reid's been in the lab, cooking up a game to shut the Raiders down.
We all know how good Reid is in these situations, with a 17-3 record coming off a bye. The Raiders have fallen victim to that stat.
The Chiefs have faced the Raiders coming off a bye five times since 2011, and three of the last four times that Reid has been Kansas City head coach.
"He has good players. That helps," Gruden said. "He's a good coach. I think it's a combination of all of that. My sources tell me he gave his team most of the week off, so hopefully a lot of their flights are delayed and they're late getting in (Monday)."
The Raiders must find their best before Sunday to compete. The Chiefs are 9.5-point favorites at this point in the week, and deservedly so. The Raiders are fresh off a disastrous 34-3 loss to the Jets, heading for their house of horrors.
Quarterback Derek Carr has lost all five games he has played at Arrowhead Stadium. The Silver and Black haven't won there since 2002. Gruden won three of four games there during his previous stint as Raiders head coach, though his teams were superior at that point.
He'll bring an underdog to town this time, hoping it can play better than the sum of its parts. The Raiders have done that several times this season and won't if they play anywhere close to how they did against the Jets.
"We had better show up or they're going to beat us by 50," Carr said. "They are a really good football team, one of the best in the NFL. Hopefully our guys, myself included, will show up in Arrowhead a week from now ready to go. I believe that we will be."